Miguel Recarey Jr., an e'migre' from Castro's Cuba, bought the Miami-based International Medical Centers in 1977 and proceeded to turn the small group of health clinics into the country's largest Medicare contractor. Under his direction, IMC enrolled more than 130,000 elderly residents of Florida at a cost to the government of roughly $360 million annually.

Recarey stepped down from IMC in April after he was indicted by a federal grand jury in Florida on charges of bribing local union officials to send members to the health plan.

Dr. William R. Roper is the administrator of the U.S. Health Care Financing Administration, which oversees the Medicare program and participating HMOs. Roper has promoted HMOs as a way of fostering free-market competition in health care, but lately he has been forced to defend the government's program against congressional charges that it has allowed abuses by HMOs. In May, Roper decided to revoke IMC's federal contract after the company failed to make demanded management changes.

C. McClain Haddow was a predecessor of Roper's as Medicare chief and also served as chief of staff to former Health and Human Services Secretary Margaret Heckler. During his brief tenure at Medicare in 1985, Haddow made several favorable decisions toward IMC that were overturned after his departure. Haddow subsequently became a health care consultant, with IMC as one of his clients. He is currently under federal indictment on an unrelated matter.

Rep. Claude Pepper (D-Fla.), the powerful Capitol Hill advocate for the elderly, was an early supporter of IMC chief Miguel Recarey's. Pepper helped IMC get its initial federal contract and spoke out on behalf of IMC and other Florida HMOs. Pepper has favored HMOs because of the comprehensive health benefits they provide for their members. He was also the recipient of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from various IMC executives.

Lyn Nofziger, former Reagan White House adviser, was one of several high-priced Washington lobbyists hired by IMC to represent its interests in Washington. Other representatives included former Reagan campaign chairman John P. Sears and several former officials of the Department of Health and Human Services. With the help of this lobbying team, IMC was able to win several crucial exemptions from federal rules governing HMOs.